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Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Mike Stag, Esq.
The Otis AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
See If You Qualify

The Otis AFB water contamination lawsuit follows the discovery of toxic substances in the military base’s drinking water. Military personnel, their families, and civilian workers stationed at the base for a significant amount of time have reported serious health problems, including various cancers, that can be linked to the contaminants at Otis AFB. This water contamination lawsuit seeks fair compensation for all those affected.

Otis Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawsuit Overview

Otis Air Force Base (AFB), located in Massachusetts, was established in 1938 as a part of the Massachusetts National Guard. It initially served as a training ground and coastal defence installation. The base was important during both WWII and the Cold War. In the late 20th century, the base became part of Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC).

A review of past and current operations revealed many potentially contaminated areas at JBCC, especially in its Southern section. These areas were contaminated by historical chemical and fuel spills, fire training (AFFF), landfills, and drainage systems. Effluent from the former sewage treatment plant was also discharged into sand beds, contaminating the groundwater. 

In 1984, the U.S. Geological Survey detected contaminants in monitoring wells near the base.  In the late 80’s the Air Force found volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in monitoring wells near the base’s fire training area. They also detected VOCs in several hundred private wells (now all using municipal water) and in one town well, which has since been shut down.

Otis AFB was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989.

Otis Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates

June 19, 2024 – The judge in the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit has scheduled key expert disclosures for October 2024 and March 2025. Two sites near military bases with groundwater contamination will proceed to trial. This timeline sets a trial date for summer or fall 2025, increasing the likelihood of settlements due to the imminent trial threat. A final resolution is expected within the next 12 to 18 months.

December 15, 2023 – The presence of PFAS from firefighting foam was confirmed at Otis AFB. Environmental Working Group stated the U.S. Department of Defense has been slow to respond to PFAS contamination. According to Rose Forbes, the remediation program manager for the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at JBCC, a large PFAS plume from the Otis Air National Guard Base has been spreading through groundwater toward North Falmouth and Mashpee for decades.

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History of Toxic Exposure at Otis Air Force Base

Otis AFB has a long history of environmental issues dating back to the 1960s. Training activities, improper disposal of hazardous materials, industrial activities and insufficient environmental safeguards led to the contamination of the base’s drinking water supply. Investigations have identified a range of toxic substances, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been used in AFFF firefighting foams (which used to be a standard practice) and various industrial processes.

Otis Air Force Base Water Contamination Map

The Otis Air Force Base water contamination map shows the PFAS plume that has spread from Joint Base Cape Cod. 

The affected areas include residential zones, training facilities, and administrative offices.

Contaminants Found in Otis Air Force Base Drinking Water

Extensive testing has revealed several dangerous substances in Otis AFB’s water supply. Key contaminants include PFAS (“forever chemicals”), volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as 1,4-dioxane, benzene and trichloroethylene (TCE), and lead. These substances are known for serious adverse health effects, ranging from cancer to fertility and developmental issues. 

The soil at Otis AFB is also contaminated.

Current Water Quality at Otis Air Force Base

Recent tests indicate that while some contaminants remain present, significant improvements have been made in water quality at Otis AFB. Remediation efforts, such as thorough filtration and removal of contaminated soil, have reduced the concentration of harmful substances in the water supply. However, long-term monitoring is still essential to maintain safe drinking water standards.

Water Treatment Efforts at the Base

Extensive water treatment measures have been carried out at Otis AFB. They include the installation of modern filtration systems, regular sampling, and the use of alternative water sources. Ongoing efforts focus on both immediate and long-term solutions to ensure a safe and reliable water supply for all residents and personnel.

Another investigation and cleanup program at JBCC, led by the Army under Safe Drinking Water Act Administrative Orders, is called the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program. This work, separate from the Superfund efforts, is coordinated with the EPA, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and JBCC.

Health Risks Linked to Drinking Water at Otis AFB

Exposure to contaminated water at Otis AFB has been linked to various health risks. Long-term exposure has been associated with more severe conditions such as kidney disease, liver damage, and several types of cancer, including bladder, breast, and leukemia. 

Exposure to PFAS has been associated with:

  • Increased risk of testicular, kidney, and thyroid cancers and leukemia 
  • Ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Changes in cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
  • Impaired fetal growth and developmental complications following birth 
  • Weakened immune system function

Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been associated with:

  • Increased risk of liver and kidney damage
  • Central nervous system effects
  • Respiratory issues 
  • Potential development of certain cancers, like leukemia
  • Adverse effects on the reproductive system and developmental issues in children
  • Allergic reactions, including skin rashes

Our law firm is currently evaluating cases where individuals have been diagnosed with:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Eligibility Criteria for Otis AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit

To be eligible for the Otis AFB water contamination lawsuit, individuals must demonstrate significant exposure to the contaminated water. This usually means one must have been stationed at or lived at or near a base for six months or more. Additionally, one must provide accurate medical records linking their health condition to the contaminants found at Otis AFB.  

Our law firm is currently evaluating cases where individuals have been diagnosed with:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Otis AFB Water Contamination Settlement Amounts

Settlement amounts for the Otis AFB water contamination lawsuit and similar cases vary greatly based on the severity of the health impact and the duration of exposure. It is rather difficult to make a prediction regarding the settlement amount. However, based on past cases, settlements are expected to range from $30,000 to $500,000, with some severe cases potentially exceeding these amounts. Victims can hope to get compensated for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and legal expenses.

How to File an Otis AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit

To file a lawsuit, affected individuals should consult with an experienced attorney specializing in environmental law and water contamination cases. Supporting documentation includes medical records, proof of residency and/or employment at Otis AFB, and any evidence of health issues linked to the existing contaminants. Your lawyer will guide claimants through the process, from initial consultation to gathering of the evidence to filing the claim and pursuing fair compensation.

Contact King Law for a free case evaluation and we will walk you through the water contamination lawsuit process.

Evidence to Support Your Water Contamination Claim

Evidence for an Otis AFB water contamination claim includes medical diagnoses, proof of any treatment you had to undergo water testing results, military service records, and expert testimony linking health conditions to the contaminants. Documentation of symptoms, treatments, loss of employment and any related expenses also strengthens the case. Collecting and presenting this evidence correctly and effectively is crucial for a successful case.

Statute of Limitations for Otis AFB Water Contamination Claims

The statute of limitations for filing an Otis AFB water contamination claim varies by state and the circumstances of your case. It is essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the deadlines and to preserve the right to seek compensation.

Otis Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawyers

Specialized lawyers in environmental and military contamination cases are crucial for navigating the complex legal landscape of the Otis AFB water contamination lawsuit. At King Law our team has the expertise to handle the intricacies of such cases, from explaining the process in detail to gathering evidence and negotiating settlements. If you or your loved one have been affected by water contamination, you should consult a lawyer with a proven track record in similar lawsuits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Otis AFB water safe to drink?
Currently, Otis AFB water meets safety standards due to extensive treatment efforts. However, some contamination is still present and continuous monitoring is required to ensure ongoing safety.
What are the toxins found at Otis AFB?
Key toxins include trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, PFAS, and lead, which pose significant health risks to those who come in contact with them.
Is Otis AFB a Superfund site?
Yes, Otis AFB has been designated a Superfund site due to extensive contamination requiring long-term cleanup efforts.
What is the lawsuit on Otis AFB?
The lawsuit seeks compensation for health conditions linked to toxic exposure from contaminated drinking water at Otis AFB. Those affected are mainly military personnel and their families.
What are the environmental issues at Otis AFB?
Environmental issues at Otis include soil and water contamination from firefighter training, industrial activities and improper disposal of waste.
What are the deadlines for filing a claim in the Otis AFB lawsuit?
Deadlines vary by state but generally range from two to four years from medical diagnosis.
What types of health problems are linked to the Otis AFB water contamination?
Linked health problems include cancers (e.g., bladder, breast, leukemia), kidney disease, liver damage, severe allergies, developmental issues and respiratory issues.
What evidence do I need for my claim in the Otis AFB lawsuit?
Essential evidence includes medical records, proof of residency or employment at Otis AFB, and potentially expert testimonies linking existing health conditions to contaminants at the base.
How long will the Otis AFB lawsuit process take?
The lawsuit process can be lengthy and take up to several years.
What is the average payout for the Otis AFB lawsuit?
Average payouts are expected to range from $30,000 to $500,000, with some severe cases potentially receiving even higher amounts.